hong kong

Hong Kong police shoot protester, igniting renewed fury  

A Hong Kong policeman shot a masked protester in the torso on Nov. 11 morning, igniting clashes across the city and renewed fury towards the force as crowds took to the streets to block roads and hurl insults at officers

Police, protesters face off in renewed clashes in Hong Kong  

Police fired tear gas at protesters who littered streets with bricks and disrupted morning trains Tuesday for the second day in a row as Hong Kong's five months of anti-government … Click to Continue »

Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire  

Following a day of violence in which one person was shot by police and another set on fire, Hong Kong's leader pledged Monday to "spare no effort" to halt anti-government … Click to Continue »

Joint show by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat to debut in China   18%

Compelling works by art masters Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat will feature in their first joint exhibition in Shanghai on November 8 and later travel to Hong Kong.

The Date Hong Kong Protesters Cant Escape   50%

HONG KONG—It was after one of the many pro-democracy protests here this year that the filmmaker Jevons Au, having been engulfed in tear gas, beaten with a police truncheon, and run for safety, began thinking, If Hong Kong is like this before 2047, what will it be like after 2047?

It is a question—and a date—that has hung over this city and its demonstrations these past several months. When Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, the two countries agreed on a 50-year transition period in which its liberties would be maintained. But as those freedoms have come under increasing threat from Beijing, including in the form of an extradition law that has triggered the worst political crisis in Hong Kong since the handover, 2047 has become more than just a distant deadline. It has come to symbolize the end of Hong Kong’s way of life and fundamental identity, the specter of its subsumption into mainland China.

Reflected in art, film, political discourse, and the way people see their lives, the idea of 2047, the prospect of a nightmarish final curtain, is an important factor in the persistence and intensity of the city’s current unrest, now in its sixth month. Hong Kong has long prided itself on being home to a well-trained police force, an independent judiciary, and a relatively free society, but responses to the current protests have upended that sense of security. A lack of accountability over police aggression, attacks on protesters and bystanders by police and triad gangs, as well as mass arrests, have fed into the notion that freedoms are being eroded at an alarming rate, that 2047, and life controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, are already happening. The death of a student who fell near a police clearance operation has sparked an escalation in violence in recent days: On Monday, a protester was shot in the stomach by an officer who fired a live round, and a man was set on fire after arguing with demonstrators. There is the sense of a last stand.

Five years ago, when demonstrators occupied roads in the heart of Hong Kong to demand (ultimately in vain) democratic reforms, the urgency of the moment was already coming into greater focus. After the movement failed to win any concessions, new political parties emerged, calling for more radical measures such as self-determination or even Hong Kong’s full independence from China, and faith in the city’s political system fell precipitously.

[Read: Meet the spiritual leader of the Hong Kong protests]

One young protester I spoke to, who asked not to be identified because she feared retribution, told me how those 2014 protests, the Umbrella Movement, awakened her to the political complexities at play. Born in the year of the handover, she spoke of how the 2047 deadline had determined the way she saw her own future. “In very few situations do you have to plan for the next 50 years when you’re 20,” she told me. “It’s not because of some career advancement; it’s because you literally don’t know whether your home is going to exist in 2047.”

She is not alone in that view: When members of the public were invited to put questions to Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, at an event in September, a young man pointed out that she would be 90 years old in 2047, but he would be only 55. The expiration date might not matter to her at that age, he said, but it would still matter to him. “After 2047, do we have a future?” he asked.

Au himself has spent a great deal of time and energy considering what the future might look like for the city’s residents. Dialect, a short film that he directed, was one of five works by different directors featured in Ten Years, a 2015 movie that depicted Hong Kongers’ worst fears as the clock ticks toward the end of the guarantee on the territory’s semiautonomous status. In Dialect, a taxi driver struggles to make a living because of new rules that stipulate he must speak Mandarin, the official language of mainland China, rather than Hong Kong’s dominant language, Cantonese.

Set in 2025, Ten Years resonated with Hong Kongers; at the showing I attended when it was first released, a young primary-school teacher sitting next to me was in tears. Envisioning events such as the imprisoning of activists and the quashing of an independence movement, the film has already proved prescient. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was banned on the mainland, where it was declared a “thought virus” by the state-controlled Global Times newspaper and struggled to get a proper run in Hong Kong cinemas, despite sold-out shows. Au still sees the film as relevant now. “The taxi driver is the Hong Kong people if we lose this battle,” he said.

Fears for Hong Kong’s future were not always so prevalent. The origins of the 2047 deadline date back to the 19th-century Opium Wars, when China ceded parts of Hong Kong to Britain in perpetuity and leased one area, the northern New Territories, for 99 years, a period that ended in 1997. As that date drew near, the two nations opened talks to decide Hong Kong’s fate, eventually signing the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984. That treaty laid out the terms of the handover, stipulating that Hong Kong would fall under the direct authority of Beijing, but also awarding it a high degree of autonomy, a “one country, two systems” formula. Its capitalist system and liberties unseen on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and freedom of speech, assembly, and the press, would be protected for a half century.

[Read: What is Britain’s responsibility to Hong Kong?]

Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese Communist Party’s most powerful leader when the 1984 agreement was signed, proposed the 50 years as a “bridge” that would foster stability and reflect commitment to Hong Kong's special status, says John Wong, professor emeritus of modern history at the University of Sydney. It also set a line in the sand that made clear Beijing’s ultimate sovereignty. The agreement gave no specifics about what exactly would happen after 2047, but liberalization of the Chinese economy under Deng had cultivated a view internationally that its political system would surely follow. Life in Hong Kong then was superior to that on the mainland in almost every respect, Wong told me, and so “there was a great deal of hope that Hong Kong would democratize China.”

Those expectations were ultimately undone by the massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. And while Hong Kong’s transition to Chinese sovereignty initially appeared to go smoothly, unsuccessful attempts by the government to pass an anti-sedition law and impose a patriotic curriculum on schools, both of which triggered huge protests, foreshadowed future unrest.

[Read: The infamous date that looms over the Hong Kong protests]

Over time, some of the city’s artists have focused on the theme of the countdown to 2047. In his 2004 film, 2046, the legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai tells the story of a novelist who writes of a train that time-travels to the year of the title, where people go to recapture lost memories. Although Wong insisted that he did not want to make a political movie, he nevertheless posed this question in an interview with The Guardian: “The Chinese government promised Hong Kong 50 years without change; 2046 would be the last year of this promise. Will there be change?”

More recent works of art have also sought to tackle the subject. Oxygen, a short film by Yip Yuen-ching that won a youth-film award in Hong Kong in 2016, portrays the city 50 years after the handover as a wasteland where surveillance devices are implanted in people’s necks and the internet and media are fully controlled. That same year, the artist Sampson Wong was part of a group behind an installation called Countdown Machine, one of the starkest visualizations of the deadline: It projected onto the facade of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper a countdown in seconds to July 1, 2047, when the 50-year guarantee on Hong Kong’s status expires. “Fate and time is so central to the discussion of Hong Kong,” Wong told me. Part of an exhibition by the city’s arts development council, the installation was removed by organizers once its political message became clear to them.

While some believe that the time to discuss 2047 has passed, the theater director Wu Hoi-fai sees the deadline as important shorthand for relations with mainland China and the issue of Hong Kong’s identity. “We are almost halfway there. It’s high time for us to really think about it before it’s too late,” he says. In September of this year, he staged a work titled The First and Second Half of 2047, drawing on real-life predictions of young and old Hong Kong residents for what would happen then. He has also commissioned eight playwrights to pen their visions of 2047 for a new production scheduled in 2020. Wu says that while the predictions given for his September production were almost universally bleak, he took heart from the fact that the different generations were more united in their aspirations for Hong Kong than he thought they would be.

With China a global superpower under the hard-line leadership of President Xi Jinping, the significance of 2047 in the minds of Hong Kongers has no doubt changed, says the University of Sydney’s Wong. “The deadline has become real—it has been made real by circumstances unforeseen in 1984,” he said. The current protests were sparked by a now withdrawn bill that would have allowed Hong Kongers to be extradited to China for trial, but they have grown into a much broader movement reflecting outrage at incursions on the city’s liberties and a renewed demand for real democracy. Au, the Ten Years director, told me of his fears that, as time went on, artists would find it harder to speak out on the issue as Beijing exerts greater control over Hong Kong, and the space for freedom of expression here shrinks. (Already, protest marches are routinely declared illegal, demonstrators have been ordered not to hide their identities with face masks, and journalists report a worsening climate for the press.)

For Wong, the artist behind Countdown Machine and a regular participant in Hong Kong’s protests, that still doesn’t mean he will stop. “What we do now will determine our ending,” he told me. “The ending could be the worst ending. But still we’ll have a footnote in history that we did something.”

Asia shares left guessing on trade, await Trump speech  

Asian share markets flatlined on Tuesday as uncertainty over Sino-U.S. trade talks and political strife in Hong Kong dogged sentiment, while safe-haven bonds eked out a bounce.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares left guessing on trade, await Trump speech  

Asian share markets flatlined on Tuesday as uncertainty over Sino-U.S. trade talks and political strife in Hong Kong dogged sentiment, while safe-haven bonds eked out a bounce.

Japan's Nikkei edges up on exporters, TOPIX falls   -16%

Japan's Nikkei edged up on Tuesday as a slightly weaker yen boosted shares of exporters, but the broader TOPIX index fell as worries about U.S.-China trade friction and an escalation of violence in Hong Kong hurt sentiment.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares turn sluggish ahead of Trump speech  

Asian share markets got off to a sluggish start on Tuesday amid uncertainty over both the Sino-U.S. trade talks and the domestic political situation in Hong Kong.

K-pop top awards show skips Hong Kong due to protests: source   5%

An annual K-pop festival is not happening in Hong Kong this year due to months-long political unrest, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

Hong Kong police fire tear gas as transport chaos grips city   -3%

Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas at a university campus on Tuesday and residents of the Asian financial center struggled to get to work as territory-wide transport disruptions wreaked commuter havoc and activists planned flash protests.

Highlights: Hong Kong on edge as anti-government protests grip city  

Anti-government protests gripped Hong Kong on Tuesday as riot police fired tear gas at a university campus and traffic and rail disruptions caused commuter chaos.

Hong Kong leader says protesters 'paralyzing' the city are selfish   -50%

Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday said protesters who are trying to "paralyze" the city were extremely selfish and hoped all universities and schools would urge students not to participate in violence.

U.S. condemns latest Hong Kong violence, urges both sides to de-escalate   15%

The United States on Monday condemned "unjustified use of deadly force" in the latest Hong Kong violence and urged police and civilians alike to de-escalate the situation, a senior Trump administration official said.

Hong Kong violence prompts reminder that China troops close at hand   -16%

Hong Kong police shot and critically wounded a protester and a man was set on fire on Monday in violence that prompted leader Carrie Lam to denounce "enemies of the people" and drew a chilling warning from a senior Chinese newspaper editor.

Alibaba's Singles Day sales top $30bn as it heads for record-breaking return  

  • Event founded in 2009 is world’s biggest online shopping fest
  • Alibaba plans to sell $15bn of shares in Hong Kong this month

The Chinese retailer Alibaba Group said on Monday that sales for its annual Singles’ Day shopping blitz have crossed the $30bn mark, putting the event on track to set a record in its 11th year.

The figure is equivalent to over 80% of US rival Amazon’s online store sales in the latest quarter and matches takings across Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms on Singles’ Day last year.

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Hong Kong protests: student shot and man set on fire during clashes video   4%

A student was shot by Hong Kong police on Monday, the third time a demonstrator has been hit with live ammunition. Police used teargas, pepper spray and firearms at multiple locations as demonstrators blocked roads, lit fires and hurled missiles. 

Later in the day, a man was doused in a flammable liquid and set on fire after arguing with protesters. Both the student and the man were said to be in a critical condition.

Another clip appeared to show a police officer on a motorbike driving at protesters.

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US condemns latest Hong Kong violence, urges both sides to de-escalate   15%

The United States on Monday condemned “unjustified use of deadly force” in the latest Hong Kong violence and urged police and civilians alike to de-escalate the situation, a senior Trump

Hong Kong police investigating videos of man set on fire  

Hong Kong police said Monday they are investigating reports that a man was set alight following a heated argument on a day of widespread protests across the city, as videos of the purported attack

Hong Kong protesters shot by police as chaos erupts across city   10%

Hong Kong police opened fire on protesters early on Monday, Cable TV reported, as chaos erupted across the city, a day after officers fired tear gas to break up rallies as activists blocked roads and

Hong Kong riot police on edge, fire tear gas  

Hong Kong riot police are on alert, a day after two protesters were critically wounded. The United States has expressed "grave concern" with recent developments and condemned violence on all sides.

'Too late' for Hong Kong government to gain citizens' trust   6%

Tensions in Hong Kong soared after the death of a student activist and the police's use of live rounds. DW talks to professor Ma Ngok from Hong Kong's Chinese University about the impact in the Chinese-ruled territory.

Hong Kong police shoot protester as violence escalates   8%

Two people were seriously injured in the latest uptick in violence in Hong Kong. An anti-government protester was shot and a pro-government man set on fire. Activists have urged investigations of police brutality.

Carrie Lam labels protesters enemy of the people, vows they 'will never win'   -38%

The Hong Kong chief executive's tough language comes after a protester was shot by police and a meeting with China's President.

Restaurants targeted as protests spread to Hong Kong's New Territories  

Protesters blocked roads and trashed shopping centres across Hong Kong's New Territories on Sunday on the 24th weekend of anti-government protests.

Thousands gather for 'martyrs' vigil amid Hong Kong protests   4%

Hong Kong protesters held a vigil for "martyrs" on Saturday and many demanded "revenge" after a student died in hospital this week following a high fall, fuelling anger among pro-democracy demonstrators who first took to the streets in June.

Jail for man caught up in money laundering scam at meat exporter   -30%

A Hong Kong man who helped launder $4.6 million through a sham meat exporting business will spend at least two years behind bars in Victoria.

Anti-government protesters vow to stick with new strategy after increased weekday violence brings Hong Kong to partial standstill   30%

Hong Kong’s protesters vowed to keep up their new strategy of weekday escalation of violence, after causing widespread traffic disruption on Monday that brought the city to a partial standstill by forcing shop closures and curtailing the working day for many residents.Political scientists said the latest actions – though probably unsustainable – had dealt a bigger blow to the city than the usual weekend violence, which Hongkongers had already adapted to as the anti-government unrest entered its…

Washington voices grave concern over Hong Kong clashes, calls for restraint on all sides  

The US State Department said it was watching events in Hong Kong with “grave concern” on Monday evening and called on Beijing to honour commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, following one of the bloodiest days in the city since anti-government protests began in June.Clashes between police, anti-government demonstrators and Beijing sympathisers on Monday saw one young protester shot with a live round by a police officer and a middle-aged resident set on fire by a protester during…

Singapore rises as Hong Kong sinks in projected real estate price increases for 2020   -20%

The fortunes of two of Asia’s hottest property markets are diverging. Singapore is now ranked No. 1 for real estate investment prospects in terms of price increases in 2020. Hong Kong, buffeted by months of violent anti-government protests, has plunged to the bottom of the list from 14th place in 2019.That’s according to an Urban Land Institute and PwC report released on Tuesday into property trends in the region.The city state has benefited from an uptick in interest among investors who are…

Hong Kongs October stamp duty income jumps as non-resident property buyers pile in to pick up bargains amid oversupply   10%

Individual and corporate homebuyers piled into Hong Kong property last month to pick up bargains as city developers offered the most number of units for sale in several months after a surprise relaxation of mortgage entitlements for first-home buyers.Buyers’ stamp duty, a 15 per cent surcharge on the price of a property that must be borne by non-permanent Hong Kong residents and corporate buyers, soared 2.8 times last month to HK$880 million (US$112.4 million), while the number of transactions…

Monopoly-style game teaches Hong Kong children how to be little entrepreneurs   12%

Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but by engaging in a specially designed board game, a group of six pupils at Pat Heung Central Primary School in Yuen Long have got some idea of what running a business would be like.The Monopoly-style challenge is part of an initiative launched by Junior Achievement Hong Kong to inspire and empower children.Besides giving the board game to schools it works with, the charity has conducted entrepreneurship training sessions for young students. It wants…

As Hong Kongs protests rage on, Xi Jinpings meeting with Carrie Lam and Chinas fourth plenum promise more interference   7%

What do Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s meetings with China’s top leaders in Shanghai mean for Hong Kong? Viewing those meetings with some scepticism is warranted on several fronts. First, while President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Han Zheng expressed full confidence in Lam and acknowledged the work she and her team had done to resolve the crisis in Hong Kong, no one here really shares that view. And why should we? Since the spring, we have watched as Lam’s extradition bill…

Hong Kong protests: Central targeted in lunchtime demonstration, clashes erupt on campuses   -7%

Hong Kong’s radical protesters are staging yet another campaign to cause citywide traffic disruptions on Tuesday, after their actions on Monday sparked one of the most violent days of the anti-government movement, which is now entering its sixth month. Monday’s protests – in which they set up roadblocks on major thoroughfares, hurled objects onto train tracks and splashed buses with paint – paralysed roads and forced the closure of more than 20 railway stations throughout the day. Also on…

Hong Kong plunged into commuter chaos as protesters block roads and target rail services with turmoil expected to continue for another day   -30%

A citywide anti-government protest plunged Hong Kong into transport chaos throughout Monday, crippling metro, bus and cross-border services and making it difficult for millions of commuters to get home after work.The turmoil was expected to persist on Tuesday as defiant protesters vowed to keep fighting after a 21-year-old student was shot and critically wounded by a police officer on Monday morning.The embattled MTR Corporation was once again badly affected as protesters vandalised the rail…

Student shot and man set ablaze in one of the most violent days of Hong Kong anti-government unrest yet   -2%

Police fired a live round at a protester from close range and a man was torched in an act now classified as attempted murder, as Hong Kong on Monday spiralled into one of the most violent days of the anti-government movement, with clashes raging for more than 16 hours.The shooting victim, a 21-year-old vocational student surnamed Chow, had a kidney and part of his liver removed to retrieve the bullet and was reportedly in critical condition, while 57-year-old construction worker Leung Chi…

Hong Kong protests: shot student remains in critical condition after surgery to remove right kidney, part of liver and bullet, as arguments rage over force used  

A student protester who was shot at close range by a Hong Kong police officer remained in a critical but non-life threatening condition on Monday night, as critics and the force crossed swords over whether disproportionate force had been used.A station sergeant shot the 21-year-old college student, surnamed Chow, in the abdomen at a road crossing in Sai Wan Ho at 7.20am following a confrontation. Chow is the third protester shot with live ammunition since anti-government protests broke out five…

Tear gas fired on campuses for first time as student protesters battle police at Chinese University, Polytechnic University and University of Hong Kong   -2%

Hong Kong police fired tear gas in tertiary institutions for the first time on Monday, with Chinese University turned into a smoking battlefield where student protesters and officers were locked in a tense stand-off for seven hours.The widespread traffic disruption in the morning, caused by anti-government protesters calling for a citywide strike, also prompted 11 universities to cancel classes. All but one of them would continue to suspend classes on Tuesday.On Monday morning, police entered…

Police shooting exposes deep divide online between mainland China and Hong Kong   35%

As Monday morning’s police shooting of a protester triggered a wave of shock and outrage in Hong Kong, across the border in mainland China, the response online was just as swift – but in support of the force.“Support Hong Kong police opening fire! Clean up Hong Kong’s cockroaches!” one popular financial blogger on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, said as he shared footage of the incident.In the video, an officer grapples with a protester and points his gun towards another approaching…

Since Beijing shunned waste imports, Hong Kong has deluged Southeast Asia with plastic   -5%

Hong Kong has become one of the top re-exporters of plastic waste from developed countries to Southeast Asia since mainland China’s ban on waste imports last year, an investigation by a local green group has found.In 2018, the city re-exported 280,000 tonnes of plastic waste worth HK$727 million (US$93 million) from the US, Japan, Germany, Britain and Mexico to countries such Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.Kylie Yeung Kai-ching, project researcher for The Green Earth, which conducted the…